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Nov 5, 2009 09:13 AM

Kosher snacks for a work function--help needed

I've offered to bring snacks for a faculty meeting next week. I was planning to bake some cookies, but I would like to bring something Kosher for our orthodox faculty member. Obviously I can't bring something from my non-kosher kitchen, and there is no kosher bakery near enough to be feasible for me to bring something from one.

So, I was thinking/hoping that I could bring a treat or two from the "kosher/ethnic" section of my regular grocery store. I know that a packaged treat is not the same as a bakery one, but it seems better than excluding this colleague entirely.

I do know that anything I purchase should be kept sealed. I do not know what symbols I should be looking for (from reading this board I know that there are different symbols). Does anyone have any advice on how to identify an appropriate product or have one in mind?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Thank you for being so considerate!

    Uncut fruit is probably the easiest - perhaps you could bring a big bowl of nice grapes or clementines? Avoid strawberries, since a) there are particular ways to wash them to remove tiny bugs, and b) strawberries in November are terrible anyway. I would eat fruit that you'd cut with a cold, clean knife (which you probably use any time you're cutting up fruit), but if you don't serve cut fruit, you avoid the question.

    Otherwise, you don't have to stick to the kosher section of the grocery store; almost nothing I buy or eat other than meat and cheese comes from a special area. The vast majority of kosher-certified products in any American grocery are just regular old products, from cereals (like the box of Post shredded wheat I finished this morning) to candy (like most Hershey products) to canned goods (like the can of Goya beans that went into my dinner last night.) The most common certifications, which are accepted by nearly every kosher-observant Jew in America, are the OU (a U in a circle:, the OK (a K in a circle:, and the kof-K (kof, the first letter of the Hebrew word kosher, looks kind of like a squared-off, backwards C; there's a K inside it:

    There is the possibility that your coworker keeps cholov yisrael, a certain extra stricture related to dairy products (see for more info), so you can ask him/her about this or avoid any product labeled 'dairy' or OU-D, OK-D, or chaf-K-D. Dairy is in far more products than you'd suspect, including the vast majority of commercial cookies, but you should be able to easily find non-dairy pretzels, chips, etc.

    3 Replies
    1. re: GilaB

      I definitely agree with the fruit idea. You can even just put out a bowl of assorted apples- an apple is something that everyone will enjoy.

      If you live near a Trader Joe's a lot of their cookies are kosher (packaged and bakery)- maybe you can bring one of those. The tubs are packaged nicely, and it doesn't seem like you're putting a box of Oreos on the table.

      1. re: GilaB

        Not everyone would eat fruit that has been cut if they dont know if the knife is kosher. In my office, the non Jews know to cut anything they are serving ,such as Entenmann's cake with a plastic knife. They leave the knife with the cake to show that that is the knife that was used.

        1. re: GilaB

          I second the Matt's cookies. (You can get them online) Also Enjoy life cookies are good as well.

        2. Kettle Brand Chips have a Kof-K as doTerra Chips. Matt's Cookies, if they're available in your are, are the homemade-tasting of all store cookies, in my opinion.

          1. Here is a list of reliable symbols: Most of them are quite small and obscure, and you'll never see them at your supermarket. The ones you'll see all over are OU, OK, Chof-K, Star-K, and ones from your region, wherever that is. (i.e. in the midwest you'll see the CRC from Chicago, in California you'll see the LA agencies, etc.)

            1. That is so nice of you. I agree that fruit that is uncut would be best. Grapes, strawberries, apples--perhaps in a nice basket if that's not too much trouble.

              1. Thanks so much for all of the replies. I'll definitely put out a basket of fruit--probably apples and clementines. I may pick up a packaged kosher snack as well.

                I'm new at my job, and I'm hoping to invite the department over for drinks etc eventually, so I'll probably be back for more advice.

                4 Replies
                1. re: nc213

                  That's so nice of you! Don't be nervous at all- your kosher coworkers are probably thrilled that you thought of them...

                  1. re: nc213

                    I second the Entenmann's advice - it's kosher, available and is something that everyone enjoys. I would avoid things from the kosher/ethnic section because in all likelihood, your kosher co-worker would be happiest to be able to eat like everyone else without making a too much of his/her dietary restriction. You are most thoughtful!

                    1. re: Kosher Critic

                      Except that, as noted above, the person in question may keep cholov yisroel, in which case Entenmann's isn't such a good idea.

                      1. re: zsero

                        Stella Doro cookies are OU and not dairy so those would be a good choice. Everyone loves those flower shaped ones with the choicolate fudge in the middle, and the almond cookies are moist and really good too.